Import an IIF file into Quickbooks Desktop

Create IIF files from your transaction file

This tutorial shows how to import an IIF file, analyze and fix errors during import and finish import successfully.

This example is for Quickbooks 2019. Before importing any file (IIF file, QBO file, QBJ file) into Quickbooks, make sure to backup your Quickbooks company data file.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 1: main menu Quickbooks Desktop 2019

To do a backup click 'File' - 'Back Up Company' - 'Create Local Backup'

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 2: back up company in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Then select 'Local backup' and click 'Next'.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 3: local backup in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Click 'Save it now' or 'Save it now and schedule future backups'. It is important to do a backup just before import. You will see that it takes just a couple of minutes, but it saves you a great time if something goes wrong. Click 'Next' button.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 4: save backup in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

This is a backup file. Click 'Save'.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 5: save backup in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Done! Quickbooks has saved a backup of the company file to the documents folder. Click 'OK'. If something goes wrong with IIF file then you can easily roll back. Make sure Quickbooks has accounts and vendors already created before importing IIF file.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 6: saved backup in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

So IIF file is a simple text file where all columns are separated by Tab corrector. And you can review it easily in any text editor, like Notepad, which is default Windows editor. So, when you review in it, check that you are importing correct file, check that dates and account names are correct. Let's say, that you are importing this file for Wells Fargo account. You see, in this example, Wells Fargo transactions. Deposit, which is Vendor Name, should be changed, but in this case, was not changed. We have to have vendor deposit, we have to have account Wells Fargo, account Consulting Income, account Office Supplies, account Payroll Expenses, vendor check, vendor home depot, vendor ADP.


Let's go back to Quickbooks before importing IIF file. We have ADP TX/Finci Svk ADP, Check, Deposit, Home Depot.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 8: saved backup in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Click 'Lists' - 'Charts of Accounts'. We have Wells Fargo, Consulting Income, Office Supplies and Payroll Expenses.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 9: charts of accounts in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Let's import an IIF file. Click 'File' - 'Utilities' - 'Import' - 'IIF Files'. Quickbooks must close all windows to import the IIF file - click 'OK'.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 10: click file, utilities, import in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Click 'Import IIF' button.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 11: click import iif in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

We have few IIF files and we can easily select any one of them. That’s why it is important to have a backup. So even if a file was created correctly by the third-party utility, but you accidentally imported incorrect file, you can restore quickly from backup. Click 'Open' button.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 12: select iif file in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Then click 'Proceed' button.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 13: click proceed in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

We have an error message. Click 'Review now' and select Notepad.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 14: error, click review now in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

All transactions are imported well. Only two transactions were not imported (missed Account Expenses). Fix the errors and import this file, as additional file.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 15: review error now in Notepad

Go back to Quickbooks Desktop. Close the window 'File partially imported'. Click 'Lists' - 'Charts of Accounts' - 'Wells Fargo. We have fourteen transactions imported well.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 16: look on imported transactions in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Let's create a New Expense Account. Click 'Account' - 'New'.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 17: new expense account in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Then select 'Expense' and click 'Continue' button.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 18: select expense account in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Select Account Name - 'Expenses', click 'Save&Close' button.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 19: type account name in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

In this case, you have several options. First option: you can go back to the original file and correct it as well. Then go to 'Back Up' and restore it. Click 'File' - 'Back Up Company' - 'Restore Previous Local Backup' and select file.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 20: first options backup in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Then you correct your full file in a text editor if you like to go this way.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 21: first option backup in Notepad

Second option: if it is incorrect account name then you would correct it right in the text editor and save the file. And then import this file again. So, we have sample-bank statement_0501101017. You don't need to do anything with this file.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 22: second option correct account name in Notepad

Just click 'File' - 'Utilities' - 'Import' - 'IIF Files'. Quickbooks must close all windows to import the IIF file - click 'OK'.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 23: import again in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Then click 'OK' and click 'Import IIF'.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 24: close all windows in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

And select this account, that was created by Quickbooks for you. Click Open" button.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 25: select created account in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Done! We have two transactions completed.

IMPORTIIFQUICKBOOKS Step 26: two transactions imported in Quickbooks Desktop 2019

Summary, do a backup before importing IIF files. Then when you are importing IIF files, see if you have any errors. And what Quickbooks does conveniently create separate IIF file, that you can edit in Notepad or any other text editor. Or if you see that Quickbooks setup issue, like missing account, then you would go and create that account or Vendor. Next step, you import new IIF file, created for you and then it will just import those transactions. If you see some errors again or some errors are still there, like you did not create all accounts, then you would have a new IIF file with only failed transactions. So, you can go to next IIF file with fewer transactions.

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